“Tasteless Profession”: Benoit Paire Labels ATP Tour as ‘Sad, Boring and Ridiculous’

Published 03/12/2021, 1:34 AM EST
Tennis – ATP Cup – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 3, 2021 France’s Benoit Paire during his group stage match against Italy’s Fabio Fognini REUTERS/Loren Elliott


Veteran French tennis star Benoit Paire has opened up on the experience of playing closed doors at ATP events in view of the pandemic.

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Currently at 29th in the singles rankings, Paire crashed out of the ongoing clay-court event in Chile on Thursday after losing his pre-quarters tie in straight sets to Dane Holger Vitus Nodskov Rune.

Benoit Paire says bubble has made his Tour experience “sad, boring and ridiculous”

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Speaking to reporters after his loss, the 31-year-old Frenchman said the punishing protocols and empty stands have reduced tennis to a “tasteless job.”

With several countries, especially in Europe, reporting a surge in COVID-19 cases, both the men’s and women’s tennis bodies have been forced to hold their calendar events behind closed doors or with limited crowds in the interest of player safety.

The protocols, though well-advised and intentioned, have taken away from the joy of playing tennis, according to the Frenchman.

While most fellow professionals on Tour seem to be doing their best to adapt to the new normal, Paire is clearly tiring of it. He said submitting to the raft of rules at Tour events has made the entire experience “sad, boring and ridiculous”.

“Playing in closed-door stadiums with no atmosphere is not what I play tennis for,” the Frenchman said, making his displeasure plain.

(Quotes have been translated with Google Translate)

Paire says he will try to rediscover his love for tennis

Paire was withdrawn from the men’s draw and put into isolation after testing positive for the virus ahead of last year’s US Open.

While one agrees that weeks and months of being in a bubble can add to the mental fatigue of players, who are on the road for the better part of a year, Paire’s brush with COVID only serves to reinforce more than ever why the ATP and WTA insist on making the protocols non-negotiable.

Tennis – ATP 500 – Hamburg European Open – Am Rothenbaum, Hamburg, Germany – September 23, 2020 France’s Benoit Paire in action during his first round match against Norway’s Casper Ruud REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer

The Frenchman said that though he was struggling to come to terms with the idea of playing closed-door events or without an atmosphere, as he calls it, he will try to make peace with how things are going forward and rediscover the joy of playing tennis.

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“I will make the effort to try to just rediscover the pleasure of playing tennis,” Paire said.

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The Frenchman made a first-round exit at this Australian Open after losing in four sets to Belarussian Egor Gerasimov.

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Priyabrata Chowdhury

998 articles

Priyabrata Chowdhury is a tennis author for EssentiallySports. He has been a print journalist for a decade, producing news pages for leading national dailies such as the Hindustan Times and The New Indian Express. His passion for sports eventually drove him to tennis writing.

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